A suspect in the brutal murder of blogger Yameen Rasheed was arrested Monday morning and remanded to police custody for 15 days, local media reports.
The young man was reportedly tailing Yameen on the night of April 22, but the police have yet to confirm that the arrest was in connection with the murder.
The 29-year-old writer and IT professional was found with multiple stab wounds in the stairway of his apartment building in the early hours of Sunday last week. He was stabbed in more than 30 places and died shortly after he was rushed to the hospital.
The suspect was arrested from a residence near Yameen’s apartment building in the Maafanu ward of the capital. The police cordoned off the area and searched the suspect’s home.
According to online paper VFP, the search was conducted in the presence of the 18-year-old suspect after he was taken back. A police officer was also seen filming the suspect as he was taken in and out of the house.
The criminal court extended the suspect’s remand detention to 15 days on Monday evening.
The police have been under fire for failure to make any arrests after claiming to have identified two suspects from security camera footage. Police officers reportedly visited Yameen’s home on Saturday and informed the family that the identity of the suspects remains unknown because they wore disguises.
Yameen’s family previously said in a statement that “the police investigation will only be deemed credible if it includes investigators from reputable international organisations.”
On Friday, Yameen’s father sought help from diplomats and international organisations in Sri Lanka to pressure the Maldivian government to carry out an independent investigation with foreign involvement.
Hussain Rasheed, 54, told reporters in Colombo that the police had acted suspiciously after the murder by washing the crime scene, repainting the blood-spattered wall, and preventing anyone from taking photographs.
The police also failed to seriously investigate several complaints Yameen had lodged about receiving death threats, he added.
His son was threatened by radicalised local gangs for speaking out against rising Islamic extremism, Rasheed said.
Yameen was the third liberal blogger to be targeted in the past five years. In June 2012, three men assaulted Ismail Hilath Rasheed, a former editor of newspaper Haveeru, and slashed his throat. He narrowly survived the murder attempt outside his door.
Despite the police claiming to have access to CCTV footage near Hilath’s home in the capital, no arrests were made.
In February, the family of missing Maldives Independent (formerly Minivan News) journalist Ahmed Rilwan sued the police for refusing to disclose information about the abduction after more than 900 days.
The family previously accused the state of involvement in his disappearance, alleging police negligence in investigating the case.
The police initially denied any link between Rilwan’s disappearance in August 2014 and a reported abduction outside his apartment building in Hulhumalé.
But in a stark reversal in April last year, Chief Inspector Satheeh said Rilwan was taken into a car that belonged to a notorious gangster.
Photo from Vnews